tv Washington Business Report ABC August 5, 2012 9:30am-10:00am EDT
>> business news from the capital region. this is "washington business report" with abc7 national correspondent rebecca cooper. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> thank you for joining us for a look at business and finance in the washington region. congress is safely h home on vacation but we are still here wondering what will happen when they return. and unemployment ticked up 0.1%. both the predential campaigns are congress are paying attention to taxes. we will get to those topics today and more but before we get to those issues, we start today with a look at some of the hot
topics here atome with special focus on the district. has been a tough summer for d. businesses and residents wanting to the city to move forwardending joining u barbara a lang from t the d.c. chamber of commerce, and michael neibauer from the "washington business journal." let's start with pepco. i took a trip to beirut for a political conference. in lebanon, the power goes out once or twice a a day but it quicklcomes back on. all the businesses complain ababout how unreliable that power is. they werehocked when i told them the power went out for eight days d.c. how is pepco doingng? >> i think there is some progress being made.
i ink the numbers reflect something different thahan public perception. my husband says when two people say you are drunk you lay down. the perceptition is something pepco has to get beyd. the communication s strategy. we have talked to them. they are a member of the chamber. we talk to them a lot about that. i think that one of the things you have to look at is the sheer cost of undergrounding. everybody thinks that is the solution. you are talalking billions of dollars. who is going to pay for that? more importantly t residencts and businesses are going to complain about the disruption and the cost.
i think maybe there is a hybrid approach that we can look at. downtown is not thahat impacted because everything is on the ground then bank employees trying to get t workk have some challengeses. we love our trees it. they arere beautiful in the city. >> i used to live in th palisades. > i knonow there are signs a over our neighborhood. "pepco, do not cut down our trees." we need to bring everybody to thtable to work through that. >> the washington post did a very compelling survey that found that it i is not the trees theey you can blame the problem on because there are infrastructu problems that pepco ha allowed to exi for many years. what do you think pepco can doo
to regain trust? >> pepco has launched a public lations campaign to try to get out t the message that they are trying to build new work, more modern infrastructure like i have imagined that they havave in northern virginia pimping then you have an emergrgency situation -- in northern virginia. then you have an emergency situation. >> there were still some compelling numbers showing that pepco had some work to do. and thee call center is they set to improve public reaction time. >> it is communication with the customers tends to be their acachilles' heel. they have always struggled to get the reputation out. anything that goes wrong, if they do not jump on it and get their message out and tell
we arworking on it and we will get you back they are going to get cshed again. >> i think there are good people at pepco and out in the field but theyey have some work to do them been talkg about reputation, the city has taken several hits in the national dia for the ongoing investigation. you were quoted inhe new york tis saying you are ary seeing these revelations about this shadow campaign knowing that you worked hard to get the mayor elected and a lot of people credit you for being a force. people decided adrian fenty did not deserve another term. >> we want to see mayor gray stay focused on doing the work of the city. i am angry disappointed that all o of those things happened at.
it did not need to happen. he was going to win. >> advisers saying we had the numbers on our side and we did not know about the shadow campaign. >> it was absolutely stupid aside from being against the law. the mayor is very focused on doing his job. there is probably a number of municipalities that would love toto have what is going on in this city. a budget surplus replenishing the rainy day fund, unemployment going down. so, business is pretty good in our city. yet its a distraction. it really is more of a distraction with the media. >> it also seems to be a distraction witith voters. i hear time and time again from business leaders that they like the job that the mayor is doing
but they worry about the perception pblem the district has when they are trying to convince congress to give them more leeway. then you have voters having 20% confidence and the mayor. >> i imagine what we see from those polls is the same thing that we saw from the adrian fenty administration. >> where did mayor gray gogo ong? so many people like the qualities that he brings s to the table. he is more attentive to the details and voters in many instances. where did he go wng? was it bad management or caaign strategy? >> i do not thinink it was the campai strategy because he was in line to win. i think voter perception -- that poll was done immediately after a top campaign aide was pleading ilty to elecon fraud.
of course, people's perceptions are going to be down andhe mediaaas every right to a ask questions. the mayoyor is not really ananswerg them. >> when he is trying to unveil good things for the district, we have a responsibity toto report those as well. >> and with the same fervor and intensity. >> i can agree with you on that. we are going to take a break and then talk aboutome of the issues affecting us nationally and globallyy. we will whoever said that "less is
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>> said this week was supposed to be about tax reform in the senate finanance committee. on the front pagege of friday's washington post, a reporter explains special interests prevailed and mananaged tsay that many of their favorite. if you of the winners included some strongly supported by the business community like research and development funding, but the sena voted to keep tax cuts for owner of nascar tracks. there were also some losers, including first-time home buyers and the district who will no longer get a special tax break and wind energy companies. congress discovered many of those rebates were going to companies overseas. electric golf carts will no longerer be eligible for special
tax breaks. taking on these issues, we are joined oncagain n by barbara lang from the d.c. chamber of commerce, michael neibauer, and to tackle those thingngs from both ends patrick reis from politico. thank you all fojoinining us. let's start with tax reform. the siness community is eager to see tax reform and the obama administration continue e the tax cuts. what is your take onith this issue stands now? >> i think what congress has chosen to do with kicking the can down the roador a that a bitonger -- that is unfortunate ding we elected as president and members ofof congress to make tough decisions. th is nonot always protecting your friends.. when you look at tax rebates and
all the things that you just described i am all for rebates but there should be an economic benefit. what is the return? i am disappointed. i am not surprised. but i am very disappointed that this is the patthey h have chosen. >> let's talk about the looming threat of sequestration. you have written about different prlems that this presentsts, but is there any solution? >> i i think there is a view that this will be sorted out in november. we will remain at this standoff pimping pepeople are saying that key is to lead the economy -- at this sndoff. people are saying that the key is to lead the economy off the
cliff. i imagine a lot of business owneners would prefer that t to happen. >> we saw some good news and some bad news from the the jobs numbers. there was more job creation than expected for the month of july. but unemoyment did go up and then what did you hear? >> it is a great day to be a messenger because everybody gets to pick something that they like if you are on the republican side, you are trying to sell this uptick in umployment. ifou are o on the president's side 16300 jobs. you will see a a lot of back-and- forth with this. >>ichael, the washington business journal has beeeen following the threat of
sequestration. one thing i have to point out we said people shouould not -- there waa widely cited steady b by george masason university from a noted economist and many people have been noting about the number of jobb cutthat would result in sequestration. he was just guessing at at would happen because no one laid it out if there were e across-the- board cuts in every program. business owners and defense ntractors arare nervovous in the washington region. >> those are the numbers tt we have to go on at this point. defense espspecially in the suburbs, defense contrtractor and is with the defensese department ends mey. that is going to be cut them than those are the businesses and the workers who ar in our ea who are more panicked than anybody else.
that is why we saw aally this week by the defense industry and mbers of congress saying s stop sequestration before it is too late. >> things got nasty on capitol hill this week between various factions fighting over whose fault it was. businesses are understandably nervous. if they dnot come up with a solution before next yeaear, ople could starteing laid off f by the end of the year. we heard of layoffs already at the pentagon as a result of t the pentagon already planning for sequestration. >> i think in thee district, our cfo had already taken sequeststration into consideration as we look at the 2013 budget. i think the city is preparing as businesses have to do as well. i think the industries that will
be hit the most oufederal contractors. i am hoping that we do not have to fall off that cliff. to realize thahat you have got to do something. i go back to what i said earlier. you hire these people to make decisions. government neeeeds to shrink. you have too it in a thoughtful way. >> if it is not sequestration itit is going to be pain felt somewhere. we have to go to break. the district is suing internet travel sites because they charge us when we buy hotel roomsms fee , hotel tax..
they are only papayingack to the city the wholesale price t that they are paying to the hotel they are buying from and pocketing the extra tax revenue michael neibauer, that oundssoununds compleletely illegal to me. >> they have been sued ovever this becaususe the website to negotiate ese wholesale rates in blocks, sell them to consumer at the retail rate, and then collect tax on what thehey collected. >> w we have to get to break. evyone should read at. stay with us. we will talk about chick-fila after the break. >> although we are in the midst of the dog days of summer
business and government have not stopd. all the major media outlet that cover government carried the story that john boehner and senator harry reid were able to reach an agreement which will avoid a shutdown. another important story is focusing on the cyber security bill. the bill's 70 plus addenendums and cocould one that forces datacenter consolidation. also, an intereresting story on how preppingg agencies for sequestration. finall the recent edition of what is brewing on nextgovcom, dealg with the importance o parking lot attendants. links to the stores and others y beound o on
> we are back with ourur power housround tablthis week. barbara lang,icha neibauer, and patrick reis. we only have a couple minutes left. we have to weigh in on the chick-fil-a flare up. i went to get your take on whether business ceo's should weigh in on politi or whether they shouldot. i went to the belmont tv in arlington for a campaign event and i askedhe owner ihe was rvouss on politics. i think when you are a small
business owner, that is fine because you can take the risk. if you have a company that is publicly traded, you cannot. i remember the whole foods controversy. chick-fil-a is a little complicated because they have franchise owners. >> i think it is very dangerous. it paid off becau business is a veryy good but t that was a very dangerou, risky position fo him to t take. >> risky, feel songlabout it, the bety of the first amamendment. >> what about the franchise owners? >> they will have to make their own decision. if they are beniting, they are not goi to argue with him. >> they cocould not have picked a more controversial issue to weigh in on. the e cultural iue r really has nothing to do with the business.
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and it is bad news for lobbying. the district's 10 most profitable lobbying firms reported a drop in lobbying revenue. congress has been less active since the budget super committee iled which has translated into less workk for lobbyists. businessay pick back up again after the election. thanyou for joining us. we hope to see you nextunday on "washington business report." you can join us on our website at wjla.a.com. we are also on twier and facebook. thanyou for joing us. we hope to see you again next week.. i'm rebecccca cooper.
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